“Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” – Eph. v. 25.
BROTHER BEEBE: – Feeling disposed to gratify Brother Hughes and having to write to you on business, if you think proper you may publish the following:
Among the various figures chosen by the Holy One, and directed by the Spirit of inspiration to be used in communicating instruction to the bride of the Lamb, is the one contained in the above passage. When God created man, In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And did he not make one? Yet had he the residue of the Spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Adam and his bride were created of one (earth) and in one person or body. Christ and his bride are all of one [God.] It is contained in the scriptures that both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one: and they are created in him [Christ Jesus] unto good works, which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them. As the love of Adam to his bride led him to follow her into transgression against God, whereby he fell under the curse of the law for the sake of enjoying her company, so the love of Christ to his bride led him to be made under the law, that he might redeem her from the curse thereof; and enjoy her forever. Adam was a figure of Christ: he was the head of the woman; Christ is the Head of the church. Adam’s body contained the nature of his posterity, which were made sinners by his disobedience. Those that are counted to the Lord for a generation were and are embraced in Christ as their Head, and were represented by him when he, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot unto God, and obtained eternal redemption for them; and they, and they only, are made righteous through his obedience. Had God when he made man, (as some suppose he did) have formed a number of persons at once, or about the same time, and that of both sexes, and left them to the freedom of their own will, to choose their companions, or agree as they could about propogating their species; and then have told us that such was the figure of Christ, there would have been some more plausibility in the plea for a promiscuous family. General Atonement, community of wives, &c. But as it reads, He made man male and female, did he not make one? For this cause (what cause?) this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh: for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
All the legitimate sons of Adam have been born in agreement (in appearance at least) with the principle of their parent, being one in wedlock: and as Adam was a figure of Christ, as has been shown, there was propriety in the Apostle’s charging husbands to love their wives, as Christ did the church; in view of the jarring circumstances attending where one was a believer in Christ, and the other either a Jew or Pagan. The principle of union in nature being manifest from the circumstance of creation, &c.
Then if they were one in creation, separated by the rib’s being taken and formed into a woman, it is flesh of flesh and bone of bones. So if a man loves his own body, he should love his wife. This is the Apostle’s argument respecting the bride of Christ: for saith he, “We are members of his body of his flesh, and of his bones.” Did husbands all properly regard the apostolic instruction to love their wives as their own bodies, there would be no occasion for them to part and marry others, as is too often done. Now where men and their wives do part and marry others, it is declared to be adultery. The Lord saith he hates putting away. When male and female come together as husband and wife, according to the principle manifest from Jehovah in creation, nothing but death can part them so that they do not commit adultery when they marry. As such live in adultery, their posterity (if they have any) must be ungodly, [illegitimate.] In olden time, when the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair: and they took them wives of all which they chose, [these doubtless believed in the doctrine of Free-will.] A plain figure of men’s adding to the institutions of the gospel the various fair institutions of men. When the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men, which were of old men of renown; renowned for their wickedness it appears by what follows. It was lust – not love – that introduced poligamy, the community of wives, and the whole train of the evils and wickedness that attended that unholy race, which God destroyed by the waters of the flood.
But God made one, that he might seek a godly seed. When people marry on the principle of love, [not lust] and realize that oneness expressed by Adam when Eve was presented to him, It is flesh of my flesh, and bone of my bones, their posterity are a godly [legitimate] seed. Now to apply the figure, in its different parts of husbands’ loving their wives as Christ did the church, and following the princple that God made one that he might seek a godly seed, shows the doctrine of a particular atonement , sovereign, distinguishing grace, &c., as plainly as a man’s choosing one maid from among a family of girls would show that he did not choose them all Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: no harm done to the maids that were not chosen, because one was chosen; any more than the household did wrong to them that wrought all day in his vineyard, when he gave the penny to him that had wrought but one hour. But lust seeketh its own gratification, regardless of others’ rights. They that marry in the exercise of pure love, are content in the enjoyment of the object of their affections. They that are controlled by lust are reaching after promiscuous enjoyment. The one regards the rights of others: the other regards no rights at all. The Savior in his love to sinners regarded the rights of God, the rights of the law, the rights of man, and the rights of the serpent. And when he gave himself for the church because he loved it, he did not give himself in the same sense, for the seed of the serpent. He sought a godly seed, and he found it, when he perfected them that are sanctified, [set apart for him.] And he rest in his love. Jacob have I loved, and I hated Esau, &c.
It is lusting after or coveting happiness that does not belong to them, that leads men to practice the rites of the christian religion and profess to love Christ, that are under the law; that are clinging to the law; that are married to the law, professing to be married to Christ, while their old husband [the law] is yet living in their embraces. This is community of wives – adultery in good earnest, in the mystical sense – the very fruit of the tree of GENERAL ATONEMENT, and is abundantly manifest by their desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor whereof they affirm. As the strange woman mentioned in Prov. vii., made her proposals to the young man, plead her religious performances, &c. &c., that she might persuade him to yield to her wicked desires. So according to the doctrine of a general atonement, they propose to obtain forgiveness of sins, justification, &c., gy a legal obedience; while they tell us men are saved by grace which they obtain on condition, or in consequence of their obedience, seeking, striving, repenting, believing, &c. Yes, they say it is all of grace, free grace – a free salvation, a general atonement for whosoever will. Its application is particularly to those who make a suitable effort to obtain it. All may come that will come; nothing hinders but their own will: if you only will come you may come. Now do come: the Lord wants you to come; he is striving with you, trying to see if he cannot by some means move you to come. He stands with open arms to receive you, wooing and beseeching you to come. Now won’t you come? O do come. God gave his only begotten Son to die to make an atonement for you; it is free for you; it is free for all that will please to accept of it. Christ loves you. O how he pities you! He groaned away his life for you. He is now interceding in heaven for you. God the Father would rejoice to have you come. The Son of God would rejoice to see you come: his soul has travailed for you. The Holy Ghost is trying all he can to have you come. All the hosts of heaven would clap their hands and shout with joy to see you come to Christ to be saved; and all the saints on earth could but rejoice and shout, and sing Allelujah, glory to God in the highest, another poor sinner has consented to be saved. Now do come – come now – do not put it off: by and by, how soon you know not, if you do not come, he will withdraw his Holy Spirit from you; your day of grace will be gone, gone, gone forever, the door of mercy shut against you and your damnation sealed, forever sealed: then your cries and tears and groans will all be in vain. Justice will soon appear with his sword drawn to cut you down: grace you have slighted; offered mercy you have despised; a Savior’s blood, you have counted unholy. Oh! how can you answer at the bar of God, in the day of judgment? You gospel despising, gospel rejecting sinner. Oh! think how you will feel when you see Jesus on the azure throne – crowned with immortal brightness: and hear him say to your despised neighbors – come ye blessed of my Father, &c. But say to you, I called and ye refused, &c. Ye gospel rejecting goats, go down to hell.
The above, is but a faint sketch of the skeleton of the doctrine of a general atonement, and that method of addressing the passions of men, in order to persuade them to join the Society. It is easy for such as stand with eyes fixed on the Son of righteousness to see, that is a confusion of ideas , setting up the human will, and bringing in submission thereto the will, and authority of the great I AM. But as I have already protracted my remarks beyond what I expected when I began, I will draw to a close.
If the love of God is unchangeable as his nature; and I believe it is, for his nature is love, and the law of sacrificing given to Israel, was typical of the sacrifice of Christ. It is certain that the atonement was not for all mankind; for in the law there are several crimes named, for which no sacrifice was to be offered: such as murder, idolatry and Sabbath breaking, &c.
It were easy to show characters in various parts of the testimony that God never designed to say. And also to show that the salvation of such as are saved, does in no wise depend upon the human will, but entirely on the will of God. How important then that the distinction between chastity and uncleanness be held to view; and such sentiments of impurity as originated in lust be exposed.
I am affectionately yours,
In hope of a blessed immortality,
Signs of the Times
Volume 8, No. 7
April 1, 1840